Today the sun was out, it was almost 60 degrees and for the first time it really started to feel like spring. To take advantage of the beautiful weather my friend and I decided to get out and continue our journey on the Broome County Hiking Challenge. We decided to head up to Dorchester Lake and tackle challenge #4 on the list, which was hike #8 for us.
The hike starts out near the swimming area in Dorchester Park. The trail is entirely paved making it a great choice for those looking for easy terrain or bringing young kids or dogs. It was nice to see that there were many people out today. When we arrived there were only a few folks, but by the time our hike was over the park was filling up pretty quickly. I was glad to see so many people using this county park gem this early in the season. I suppose we are all feeling a little cooped up.
The trail continues for a while, then turns and goes around the south end of the lake near the dam. The dam was constructed between 1936 and 1942 by the Army Corps of Engineers. The lake has a surface area of 1,200 acres.
The trail takes you along the edge of the lake at the base of the flood wall. The trail connects all the way to Whitney Point High School, at which point you can continue to the lower fishing access behind the school, or turn back. On the way back we decided to walk along the top of the flood wall to take advantage of the beautiful view. The southern end of the lake was still almost entirely covered by ice.
Once we got back to the parking area and completed the challenge (the loop for the challenge is 4 miles total) we decided it was too nice out to end here. So we continued on, crossed the park and took one of the woods trails. It meanders for a short while through the woods terminating in a point. We stopped to take some photos and we could hear the ice melting on the lake. It was making all sorts of soft crackles and pops.
We headed back to the car and decided to take a short drive up to the north end of the lake. In Upper Lisle there is a steel bridge that crosses where the Otselic River enters the lake. It is here that we usually pull our kayaks out after floating down the Otselic. We wanted to see if the ice was all the way up to the north end.
When we got up there we were surprised to find that the ice was completely melted at the northern end. I took a photo where you can see the ice shelf further out in the lake. We walked around a little bit and took some shots of the Otselic meandering towards the lake. There have been many birds returning the past few weeks and it was nice to hear their chatter. It confirms spring is on the way.
We headed up the river a little further to Landers Corners just south of Willet, where we usually put the kayacks in to begin the float. There is another steel bridge here and the water for most of the summer is only a few feet deep. This makes it easy to get the kayaks in and get going. The water today was at least three feet deep and moving pretty quick.
Seeing the river and lake thaw out, feeling the warm sun and getting some much needed fresh air gave us the itch to get in those kayaks as soon as we can! Although it could have been done today….not quote yet. I sure don’t want to tip it!